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Multichannel doubles the time taken to make a purchase: study

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With half of all consumers now using three or more sales channelswhen they make a purchase, multichannel has arrived. But a new report from retail researchers Conlumino and loyalty specialist Webloyalty has found the advent of this new way of shopping has lengthened the shopping process.

Today 40.6% of buyers consult channels from catalogues and websites to smartphones, tablets and stores before buying big ticket home retail items such as washing machines, found Thriving in a Multichannel World, Part 2: Home.

When, in 2002, only 10.1% of people consulted three channels, the average shopper took 5.2 days to buy homewares, electrical, DIY. Today it takes 10.3 days, on average, with 5.5 of these days now devoted to browsing and research ahead of a purchase.

Back in 2002, 65.7% looked to two channels, compared to 42.9% now, and 20.7% consulted just one (7.6% today). The time spent to make a purchase now stretches to 331 minutes, compared to 201 minutes in 2002. As a result, says Conlumino, retailers need to plan to engage consumers throughout the process.

Retail analyst Neil Saunders, of Conlumino, said: “It is unsurprising that homeware, electrical and furniture purchases are considered carefully by consumers and that it takes time for items to be delivered to collected.

“However the length of time it takes customers to browse and research their choices – more than five days – may surprise many. Retailers need to plan carefully for how they provide greater consumer engagement throughout this process.”

All channels – including the stores where some 80% of all homewares purchases are currently made – must inspire, argues the report, while also containing detailed product information and enable easy transactions.

“Today home retailers have to deal with many more consumer touch points, which adds complexity and cost,” said Guy Chiswick, managing director of Webloyalty UK. Whether instore, online or via mobile, retailers need to ensure consistency and relevance across all channels to achieve engagement throughout the shopping process.”

The modern purchase pathway

(Source: Conlumino/Webloyalty Thriving in a Multichannel World, Part 2: Home)

Stage one: Browsing

Physical store: 68.4% of consumers browse in store, down 17.3 percentage points from 10 years ago

Online: 59.8% of consumers browse online, up 31.9 percentage points from 10 years ago

Stage two: Research

Physical store: 34.7% of consumers research in store, down 20.4 percentage points from 10 years ago.

Online: 77.6% of consumers research online, up 38.8 percentage points from 10 years ago.

Stage three: Purchasing

Physical store: 79.8% of consumers purchase in store, down 8.7 percentage points from 10 years ago.

Online: 38.2% of consumers purchase online, up 26.2 percentage points from 10 years ago

Stage four: Collection

Physical store: 62.7% of consumers collect in store, down 10.1 percentage points from 10 years ago.

Online: 59.7% of consumers have delivered to their home, up 9.2 percentage points from 10 years ago.

Stage five: Returns

Physical store: 59.6% of consumers return to the physical store, down 19.7 percentage points from 10 years ago.

Online: 58.9% of consumers have collected from their home, up 11.1 percentage points from 10 years ago.

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